18 August 2023 • by Rival
If you’ve been using the Rival Fantasy Mock Draft lobby or playing best ball, you know that 2023 is the year of the early fantasy quarterback. Guys like Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are creeping closer and closer to the 1st round, something rarely seen outside of superflex leagues. As the paradigm shifts, the Rival Fantasy team has some heat for anyone trying to zig while everyone else zags.
We’ve built a list of 10 late-round options at the quarterback position for those of you who want to go heavy on WR and RB, or maybe you opt for an early TE and can’t afford to sacrifice your early picks for another one-off position. Below are some QBs who can help guide your team this year without a crazy draft price tag.
Upside: Runner and likely the most athletically talented human on the field. The Colts have already named him the Week 1 starter, showing their faith in the 4th overall pick. We saw the ascension at Florida last year, and his Combine performance showed the raw skillset Richardson possesses.
Downside: Richardson is a rookie who relied on athleticism in college. He comes to a Colts team that doesn’t have many weapons, especially given the news surrounding Jonathan Taylor. If Richardson is forced to rely mostly on his legs, it will be good for fantasy, but his passing numbers will suffer and his injury risk will increase.
Upside: A young, dynamic supporting cast. He played behind Aaron Rodgers for 4 years and understands the mental side of running an offense (we all know that, regardless of the optics, Rodgers benefited from sitting behind Favre). He looked good in a small sample size last year, and reports out of camp say he and Romeo Doubs are in lock-step. All of this, combined with the Pack giving him another year extension shows signs of belief from the front office.
Downside: An almost unknown quantity with limited game action at the NFL level. Can he support his weapons the same way Rodgers did? What will he do with his legs? He’s also playing in a competitive division where the Pack will have to keep up with some high-octane offenses to win games and have a shot at a Wild Card spot.
Upside: The Lions are in a much better position this year with Montgomery and Gibbs. Jameson Williams should be around for the majority of the season. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a target vacuum and will likely fill the void left by T.J. Hockensen and Williams’ six-game suspension. An average of 10+ targets per game isn’t crazy, especially in the first six weeks.
Downside: Goff loves to turn the ball over, and he does not use his legs. Doesn’t have a reliable tight end after the Hockensen trade last year, which means his options have diminished. Gibbs should help, but there’s a world where Goff’s interceptions overshadow any successes.
Upside: A solid WR room, headlined by Chris Olave. The ever-present potential of a Michael Thomas comeback season also looms, and we can only hope it will come to fruition. Kamara is only suspended for 2 games, and the TE room gives him dynamic playmakers. This, combined with Carr playing behind a good offensive line in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, makes for a solid late round option.
Downside: Derek Carr has never been a world beater, and this is the first time he’s playing on a new team in his NFL career. He’ll be asked to keep the Saints in games, and his performances under pressure have never inspired confidence.
Upside: Reunited with Josh McDaniels, and now has an Alpha WR1 in Devante Adams. They’ll have to keep up in games in the AFC West, and Jimmy has shown he can perform when healthy.
Downside: The Raiders have a lot of question marks. Josh Jacobs may holdout, trade rumors are swirling around Hunter Renfroe, and Darren Waller was shipped to New York this offseason. The offense has the look of a partial teardown, and we don’t know what the new supporting cast around Davante Adams will do. Not to mention another offseason surgery for Jimmy – can he stay healthy for a full 17?
Upside: 2nd year QBs show up, especially with a 1st round pedigree. Mike Tomlin is someone anyone in the NFL would go to war with, and he’ll make sure his field general is ready to go.
There’s a really great supporting cast in Pittsburgh. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, combined with Pat Friermuth, Najee Harris, and Jaylen Warren give Pickett a plethora of options.
Downside: Pickett could turn out to be more of a game manager than game breaker. If he can’t put the pieces together to get the Steelers across the goal line from more than 5 yards out, it’s going to be a long season and Diontae Johnson could disappoint on the TD front yet again.
Upside: Kyle Shanahan. Deebo Samuel. Christian McCaffery. When you have those tools, the job becomes much easier. Give those guys the ball, and watch the fireworks.
Downside: Health. Purdy had the football equivalent of Tommy John surgery. While it’s impact on throwing a football is far less than that of a baseball, there’s always a chance Purdy’s arm strength doesn’t manifest for the first half of the season, or, worse, he re-injures himself trying to hit Ayuik deep down the field.
Draft pedigree. Yes, the cinderella story of going from Mr. Irrelevant to 7 straight wins is awesome and impressive, but there’s a world where Purdy struggles and gets the hook for Trey Lance or, amazingly, Sam Darnold.
Upside: Unliiiiimited. At least, we used to think so. Sean Payton is in town now, and he’s not going to buddy up to Russ. Instead, we’re going to get more structure, and we know what success looks like from a Sean Payton quarterback.
Downside: A repeat of 2022. Russ did step up in the last few games of the previous season, but he’s already down a man with Tim Patrick’s Achilles tear. That, plus Javonte Williams is still coming off his knee injury, meaning Russ will likely have to rely on newcomer Samaje Perine in the backfield, as well as Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, who were both massive disappointments last year.
Upside: Rise of the rookies! Stroud has solid pocket presence, gets rid of the ball, and the Texans made him their guy. Demeco Ryans comes from the 49ers system, and while he’s a defense-first coach, he know what it takes to build a good offense.
Downside: Rookie growing pains behind a mediocre offensive line and a defense whose front 7 is akin to swiss cheese. He’ll be playing from behind a lot, but will that lead to points?
Upside: Frank Reich. Say what you will, but the disaster in Indianapolis was not the fault of Frank Riech, and he’s shown many times he’s a QB maker. That, plus an entirely revamped offense that includes Miles Sanders, Jonathan Mingo, and Adam Theilen, could be a surprise for fantasy.
Downside: See C.J. Stroud. The Panthers have a much better offensive line than people realize, and they play in one of the NFL’s weakest divisions (on paper). However, Young is going to have a learning curve, and will often be asked to come from behind and keep up with good teams.
Are any of these Late Round QBs on your draft board? Are you steering clear of any or all of these guys? Let us know! Tweet us @rivalfantasy or drop a comment on our Late Round QB’s Instagram post and let us know your favorite target at the position for 2023!